Scoot prepares for growth boom

Our favourite airline, Scoot, is gearing-up for double-digit growth over the next three years.

And, in preparation, the Singapore Airlines offshoot is set to move into Terminal 1 at Singapore’s Changi Airport to provide an improved check-in and boarding process.

Changi has been working to expand T 1’s passenger handling  capacility as part of wider improvements at the airport.

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Scoot says the terminal upgrades will be able to handle Scoot’s  projected growth while improving check-in facilities in a more spacious terminal.

The upgrades include expanded baggage facilities and are expected to be completed in 2019.

A new “meeters and greeters” hall has been in use since April 2018 and the Changi T 1 departure hall now has a zone where passengers can check in and drop off their bags at self-service machines.

Scoot chief executive, Lee Lik Hsin, said the move to T1 would help the airline continue serving its growing customer base, and meet their needs for a fast and fuss-free pre-flight experience,’’

“We are working hard to achieve a seamless transition for our customers, employees and service partners, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to our new home in T1 next year.”

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Changi Airport said it periodically reviewed the allocation of airlines across all terminals to provide sufficient capacity for future traffic growth.

Scoot has carried 60  million guests and operates a fleet of 18 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 27 Airbus A320 aircraft.

The airline’s network now covers 66 destinations in 18 countries and territories.  

Scoot has two Boeing 787s and 38 Airbus A320neo aircraft on order.

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Scoot opens another European air link

Scoot, the low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines Group, has started its third long-haul service – this time to the German capital of Berlin.

The service, which leaves Singapore four times a week, provides yet another well-priced European gateway for people in Asia and Australasia.

Scoot CEO, Mr Lee Lik Hsin, welcomed the continuing growth of the airline’s low-cost long-haul network, following last year’s addition of services to and from Athens and Hawaii.

“Vibrant, creative and steeped in history, we are confident that the city of Berlin will appeal to any market or demographic, and open a new and exciting part of the continent for travellers.”

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Scoot Operating Officer, Vinod Kannan, welcomes passengers and crew on board to Berlin

Scoot currently flies to 65 destinations across 18 countries and territories, with its fleet of 17 Boeing Dreamliners and 24 Airbus A320 family aircraft.

Three more Dreamliners and 39 Airbus A-320neo aircraft have been ordered, with Scoot’s fleet expected to increase to about 70 by 2022.

With the addition of Berlin, the Singapore Airlines Group network in Germany now encompasses four cities, including Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich, with a total of 29 return services a week.

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Airline review: easyJet

What do you look for in an airline – safety, cheap fares, reliability, comfort?

Some experiences, like our Reviews of Scoot Airlines long-haul flights, delivered all that, plus a lot more.

UK-based, easyJet, has also long been a favourite of ours for flights around Europe – but we decided to put it to the test again to see if anything had changed.

To start, we checked to see how the cost of easyJet tickets compared to other airlines on our planned leg from London, UK, to Athens in Greece. For the day in question and our preferred time, easyJet was the cheapest we could find.

That decided, we went to the easyJet website and booked two tickets on the flight of our choice from London’s Gatwick Airport. The site was easy to use (no pun intended) and the process was straight-forward – we chose two tickets; provided our information; bought two seats and booked-in our single bag of luggage.

Q: Did easyJet communicate after tickets were booked?

A: Yes, right up until the morning of our flight. We also kept an eye on the airline’s online flight tracker which regularly updates information.

About three weeks after booking, we renewed a Passport, which meant that we had to slightly change information on one of our tickets. Some airlines charge a fee for making changes, but easyJet did it free of charge and re-issued the ticket.

Q: How was check-in?

A: Smooth. After catching a bus from London Victoria, we went straight to the north terminal at Gatwick Airport, where easyJet has an enormous bag drop area, with both self-service and staf desks. Doing the bag drop was easy and fast.

Q: How was the airport experience?

A: Gatwick is a fairly big airport, but the arrival/departure boards were easy to follow. Then it was on to security and into the departure area.

There can be a lengthy walk to the gates along that terminal at Gatwick, but there are signs along the way that indicate how long it will take to reach each gate.

Like many airlines, easyJet allows each person only a single item of cabin-luggage, so we’d left room in a carry-on bag for Sue’s handbag.

Q: Were there any problems boarding?

A: No. However, these days, so many people are travelling with carry-on luggage only that, regardless of the airline, it can be difficult to find room in overhead lockers near your seat.

The trick, therefore, is to be among the first on the plane when boarding. So, we waited close to the gate and made sure we moved quickly down the jetway to the plane. Our flight was on time; we quickly found our seats; and claimed space in the overhead locker above us – ready for the three-and-a-half hour flight to Athens.

Q: How was the aircraft?

A: Our plane was an Airbus A320 and was spotlessly clean and tidy. easyjet, we believe has only a single class, which was comfortable enough.

Q: Were the seats comfortable?

A: Seating was the usual Economy-type and, overall, the flight was reasonably comfortable and relaxing.

Q: How was the cabin crew?

A: Efficient, professional and polite.

Q: Did you land at Athens on time?

A: We arrived at Eleftherios Venizelos airport exactly on time. Both the take-off and landing were smooth – and there were no problems leaving the plane or collecting our luggage.

Age-friendly rating

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8/10: From our experience, easyJet is more than just a huge no-frills carrier well known for offering particularly cheap tickets on European flights. We were also impressed with its communication, customer service, efficiency and reliability.

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Airline Review: Eurowings

After a wonderful roadtrip through Germany, we had picked up low-cost tickets to fly with Eurowings from Hamburg to the United Kingdom.

It was our first flight with the German carrier – and an ideal opportunity to rate Eurowings Age-Friendliness.

Here’s our rating:

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Hamburg Airport

Q: Was the booking process simple and easy to complete?

A: Yes. The Eurowings website was straight-forward and we booked ticketes without any problems. Later, we needed to make a change to Passport details – and the airline ’s telephone customer service did so without any problem or any additional charge.

While booking, we noticed the Eurowings also advised of the following help, if needed, free of charge:

Assistance for hearing-impaired passengers during boarding and deplaning
Assistance for visually impaired passengers during boarding and deplaning
Carrying passengers with impaired mobility to the plane and transport of one wheelchair
Assistance for passengers with impaired mobility from check-in to the plane
Assistance for passengers with impaired mobility on the steps to the plan

Q: Did Eurowings communicate after you booked tickets?

A: Yes were advised to be at the airport at least two hours before departure. Eurowings is also active on social media, so we kept a watch for announcements in the weeks running up to our flight.

Q: How was check-in?

A: Smooth. As expected, there were a lot of Eurowings luggage check-in desks at Hamburg airport. We printed our boarding passes at one of the many automated facilities – and checked-in our luggage within minutes of arriving. Many older travellers tend to shun the boarding pass machines, but these couldn’t be easier to operate.

Q: How was the airport experience?

A: Hamburg is a fairly big regional airport, but the arrival/departure boards were easy to follow and we were soon through security and into the departure lounge area. Eurowings advised one person on our flight that she could take her wheelchairs with her, subject to battery inspection. While checking in, it was politely suggested that we allow 30 minutes to get from check-in to the gate.

Q: Were there any problems boarding?

A: No. Our plane was on time and we boarded via a jetway and easily found our seat for the relatively short journey to London Heathrow.

Q: How was the aircraft?

A: Our plane was an Airbus A320 and was spotlessly clean and tidy. We were seated in Economy, which was comfortable enough. We had flown premium cabin from Australia to Europe on a Scoot Airlines 787 Dreamliner — and the Airbus certainly didn’t compare. However, for a short journey, the Eurowings offering was fine.

Q: Were the seats comfortable?

A: The seats were the usual Economy fare and, overall, the flight was comfortable and relaxing.

Q: How was the cabin crew?

A: Efficient, professional and polite. Although the flight was only about one-and-a-half hours, we were given light refreshments and a drink of water.

Q: Did you land on time?

A: The flight left Hamburg on time and arrived at London Heathrow about 10 minutes early. Both the take-off and landing were smooth – and there were no problems leaving the plane as we steeled ourselves to face British customs.

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Our Age-Friendliness Rating

8/10. From our experience, Eurowings is ideal for all ages – at least on a short to medium haul flight. The airline’s reputation of being a reliable, no-frills carrier doesn’t quite do it justice. We found that it communicated well; had a smooth check-in and boarding process; provided a clean and tidy aircraft and did absolutely nothing wrong on the ground or in the air. The Airbus Economy seats were comfortable without being anything to write home about; the personal space was adequate.

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Review: Scoot’s Dreamliner

We like window seats, so our review of Scoot’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner was off to a flying start.

On boarding in Sydney, our eyes were immediately drawn to the Dreamliner’s oversized windows, which are said to be as much as 30 percent bigger than usual and allow in much more natural light.

It was the first time either of us had been on a Dreamliner; setting off from Australia to run the senior traveller’s microscope over Scoot’s European service to Athens, Greece.

And, first impressions were certainly positive.

As we moved onboard, we also noted wide seats, good leg room and bumper-sized overhead storage lockers that fold into the ceiling.

At our ages, wide seats are increasingly appreciated and big overhead lockers overcome the competition for bag space that often occurs on flights today.


In the ScootBiz premium cabin at the front of the plane, the spacious seating arrangement further emphasised the Dreamliner’s wide body.

On take-off, you really feel a surge of power through this plane and the sweep of the 787’s wings looks pretty sleek through the big windows.

Time passed quickly on the first leg of the trip, as we took a lot of photographs and were hard at work on Scoot’s in-flight wifi. There were at least eight laptops and several iPads logged onto the service in ScootBiz, but the wifi was easy to join and, for the most part, was fast enough for our purposes.

In what seemed like no time at all, we were descending into Singapore and stepping into the colourful and always-busy Changi Airport.

After refreshing and catching some sleep in an airport lounge, courtesy of our son, Dane, we were back in the air and headed off into the early morning on the long haul to Athens.

Once again, we marvelled at the smooth flight and quiet operation of the Scoot Dreamliner and the splendid vision of the night sky through the windows.

The lack of noise is particularly noticable and is a big improvement over every other plane we’ve used. The contrast with the Jumbo Jet, for example, is marked.

Other improvements in the Scoot Dreamliner are far more subtle: like lower cabin altitude and higher humidity.

An inbuilt humidifier improves air quality, with the aim of preventing skin from drying and allowing you to feel refreshed at the destination.

As we sit here, there are no obvious signs that we will emerge from this Scoot Dreamliner trip with the rosy complexions of a teenager, but who knows?

LED lighting in the Scoot Dreamliner is also a big improvement on the old days of either having the cabin lights on or the cabin lights off. Here, our crew can choose from a wide range of both colours and degrees of brightness.


When it’s time for us to sleep, the lighting will mimic the night sky. But when we need to be awake, the cabin will fill with a simulated sunrise – moving gradually from near darkness to a dark blue – and then a warm shade of orange.

Apparently, the aim is to help keep your internal clock in sync and possibly minimise jet lag. I’ll let you know about that one.

Aviation-speak aside, from our viewpoint as senior travellers, the Dreamliner combined with the ScootBiz premium cabin is giving the nicest and most comfortable long haul trip we’ve experienced.

Our Age-friendly Rating

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10/10: From our experience, the Scoot Dreamliner  is the perfect aircraft for today’s long-haul traveller.  This new-age composite wonder is, quite simply, a delight for travellers. The features mentioned in this review opened our eyes to the advances in aircraft and aviation development that have led to this marvel. We couldn’t find any reason not to give the Scoot Dreamliner a perfect score. The way aviation is changing, there undoubtedly will be an even better aircraft down the line, but for the moment at least, we haven’t experienced anything to top this.

 

Note: Our flights for this review are being provided by Scoot Airlines. But, as always, the opinions are fiercely independent.

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Review: ScootBiz premium service

Are airlines – particularly low-cost carriers – age-friendly?

That’s a fair question, especially for people who may have grown up with the stability of a tightly regulated and largely government-run airline environment.

Today, people probably have more time to travel than at any stage in their lives. And, although we all feel ‘forever young’, a little comfort whilst flying goes a long way.

But, who doesn’t also keep a close watch on   their bank account – which brings us back to flying on low-cost carriers.

After being bombarded with questions about age-friendliness in the skies,  we decided to find out for ourselves.

So, we set out to take a flight – and produce an honest and blunt review, with an emphasis on age-friendliness.

The ideal test case

Coincidently, Scoot Airlines – the low-cost carrier owned by the Singapore Airlines group – this year added Europe to its schedules with a new service between Singapore and Athens.

This service appeared ideal for our low-cost carrier review for several reasons:

Scoot also has a premium cabin called ScootBiz whose added touches may particularly appeal to seniors – and can be comparable to the price of economy class on traditional, full-service airlines.

Scoot already flies between Singapore and our base in Australia, offering a perfect long-haul test route between Sydney and Greece.

Scoot is a fast-growing and ambitious low-cost carrier that also has plans to expand its European footprint and also take its service into the US market.

Scoot is not only an example of a low-cost carrier, but also offers the latest in new-generation wide-body planes such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Scruitiny

After doing this research, we approached Scoot about taking a truly objective look at the age-friendliness of its ScootBiz long haul product – and, to its credit, the airline agreed to open its doors to our scrutiny, with no strings attached.

As a result, we arrived today at Sydney’s International Airport ready to put ScootBiz under the microscope for our readers.

Our aim was simple: to review the ScootBiz service on a long-haul journey and detail our experience from an age-friendliness viewpoint.

The booking experience

We remember when just about the only options for buying plane tickets were over the phone or in person at an airport ticket counter.

These days, it’s mostly done online, but some people  have horror stories about websites.

That’s not the case with http://www.flyscoot.com/en/, which is logical, accessible, large print and easy to understand.

There is even a help page on the website called ‘Scooting Booking Tips 101’ – and, if you still need assistance, Scoot has customer service call centres.

The packing experience

The real starting point with any plane trip is packing and this was made easier with the generous luggage allowance on ScootBiz – 30kg for checked baggage and two pieces of cabin baggage with a combined weight not exceeding 15kg.

Like many regular travellers, we try to keep heavy bags to a minimum, so the Scootbiz allowance was fine for us.

The airport experience

Navigating an airport can be downright disorienting – but, once again, the Scootbiz option is ideal.

A dedicated counter, priority check-in and boarding is all included in the fare.

It will apparently be the same at the other end, with ScootBiz passengers given priority disembarkation.

Flight: the first impression

Scoot’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners have plenty of ‘Wow Factor’, even if you usually think that a plane is just a plane.

Overall, our first impression was that the Dreamliner was stylish and spacious.


The windows seemed huge, the lighting soft and the decor fresh and spotless. And nowhere was this more evident than up-front in the premium Scootbiz section.

ScootBiz seating

Wide and roomy reclining leather seats give you 56cm of space between the armrests and 96cm from headrest to headrest.

The seats have adjustable head and feet rests, with simple controls.

For us, that is especially important because it is undoubtedly the most comfortable seating we’ve encountered in a plane.

We could certainly get used to this!

The spacious ScootBiz seats also give heaps of legroom.

We’re able to stretch out with ease and move our legs around to prevent cramp. We’ve never felt this comfortable on a flight.

Carry-on storage

In ScootBiz, there’s also big overhead lockers that overcame the need to compete with fellow travellers for every bit of carry-on storage.


This is also ideal for senior travellers who may struggle with heavy luggage.

It’s comforting to know that your carry-on bags are close at hand and not several seats away down the plane.

ScootBiz entertainment

We’re in ScootBiz seats IA and 1C and are charging our iPads with the in-seat power.


As well as writing this review on the in-flight wifi, we’ll use our devices later to check out Scoot’s entertainment system.

ScooTV is complimentary in ScootBiz and is streamed directly to your own device. We downloaded the necessary app a few days before our flights.

‘Scooties’ and meals

At the airport and throughout the flight, we’ve found the ‘Scooties’ – as the airline calls its staff – to be attentive, efficient and friendly. The cabin crew in ScootBiz really know their business and couldn’t be more helpful.

While preparing for this review, we read how Scoot’s move into long haul flights had been accompanied by a review of necessary changes in its food and drink menus.

This was our meal between Sydney and Singapore – and it was delicious.

This is also particularly important for senior travellers who may have more sedate tastebuds.

And, in ScootBiz, passengers can choose the premium meal options and they get two side servings along with the main dish.

Review findings

In a nutshell, here are the broad findings of our review:

Q: Would we choose ScootBiz for a long flight over the economy section of a traditional legacy airline?

A: Without hesitation. We don’t see ourselves as ancient, but comfortable flying is certainly far more important now than it was back in the day.

And ScootBiz is, without doubt, a far more comfortable experience than any long-haul economy flight we have made in many decades of travelling.

The low-stress check-in at the airport; gentle loading onto the aircraft; and, so far, the care and comfortable surroundings of the flight have been eye-opening.

This is one of the roomiest, most modern and advanced planes we’ve experienced; no one has reclined their seat into our faces or clambered over us to use the toilet; there’s plenty of cabin storage; and the ScootBiz environment is an absolute pleasure.

In short, users trade back-of-the-seat entertainment for a superbly comfortable seat and superior trip in a state-of-the-art plane – all for a comparable price.

To us, it’s a no-brainer. ScootBiz is great value and meets all our needs  – plus a lot more.

Keep watching for additional reports.

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Our Age-Friendliness rating

10/10: From our experience, the ScootBiz premium cabin is all about comfort – and delivers it by the shovelful for all ages. This is long-haul flying as it should be from the moment you go on the Scoot website to book; through the quality airport experience; to the comfort of the 787 Dreamliner flight; and the exceptional customer service. This is the first time we have given a perfect Age-Friendliness score – and it is well deserved.

Note: Our flights for this review were courtesy of Scoot Airlines. But, as always, the opinions are fiercely independent.

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